FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Ford government’s decision to invoke the notwithstanding clause to stifle free speech and political expression in Ontario is wrong and should not be allowed to stand.
In February, the Ford government introduced chilling restrictions on political advertising and free speech. These restrictions sought to limit issue-based campaigning by reformers and advocates within a year of an election.
On Tuesday, the Ontario Superior Court struck down these changes, finding that they violated constitutional protections of freedom of expression. The court further found that the changes are not reasonable limits on the Applicants’ rights of free expression. The full court decision can be read here.
Yesterday, the Ford government announced that it intends to invoke the notwithstanding clause to override the Court and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Fair Vote Canada disputes the Ford government’s mandate to do so. Only 40.5% of voters supported the PCs in the 2018 election. The majority of Ontarians voted for parties who oppose these actions.
Invoking the notwithstanding clause would be a particularly inappropriate response that could be interpreted as a politically interested move on the part of the government going into an election. The court noted that the government can amend the legislation again in time for the next election. We ask that the government do so without contravening the Charter, to avoid undermining the Canadian constitution based on partisan considerations.
Fair Vote Canada is a national citizens’ campaign for proportional representation.